Monday, May 25, 2015

Life with Syd, part II

Picking up where we left off in part I, it's now May 2009 and we've had Syd for three years now.

You can see that she has completely taken over the middle of the bed, where she likes to be touching us both throughout the night. Sweet Pea and PG have other spots, changing whenever they feel like it....but not Syd.

This is my view for most meals at home (we eat on the couch) typically. I have THREE beggars patiently hoping for a bit of 'people-food'. And yes, I''m an old softie, as they usually DO get a bite.

Looking back it's hard to remember when she could run and jump and climb up getting her nose above the she's checking out some food Jeannie brought home from the doggie-treat store.

And this is Christmas 2009. Sweet Pea still HATES getting her picture taken. It's hard to tell, but the chin-straps to the Santa-hats have a white beard on it...that's the blob you can see under Sweet Pea and PG.

January, 1010. We were having company, and the babies are in their formal dinner-dress.

Here's ALL my babies taking a nap on the couch. Everybody has their place...except for Daddy.

February of 2010 brought disaster to Sydney. On a Friday afternoon I came home from work, opened up the garage door and they all came charging out like they do every day when I come home. As they were running around the yard, suddenly Syd was sliding along on the grass like an airplane landing with no wheels. After she stopped sliding, she started rolling (sideways like a pipe) down the slight incline in our front yard. I zoomed over to her and scooped her up and ran her inside...she had no movement of any of her legs (and she was freaking out), only the tail was still working. I plopped her on the couch, finished running all the groceries inside the house, left Jeannie a note and took off to the Vet. It wasn't long before I got a call from Jeannie and I told her what happened, and she was there at the Vet with me soon after. We waited as they did what they could, but this was beyond them. They suggested we get her down to Ventura (about 90 miles) to the awesome Veterinary Medical Surgical Group (VMSG), which is basically a VERY high-end emergency room/hospital for pets.

So, we loaded up Syd and took off, getting down there about 9pm. Our Vet had called ahead and they literally came running out with a gurney and took her inside, just like a people emergency room. After getting all our information, the night-duty Vet's preliminary assessment was they needed a Cat Scan (they have their own machine) the following morning to confirm what they suspected, which was a burst neck disk, causing the paralysis. If this was they case, she would already be sedated and they would be ready for immediate surgery to remove the pressure on the spinal cord. We said it sounds good, and being as there was nothing further we could do, came home to await the phone call. Early the next morning we got the call, their prognosis was confirmed and she was prepped and ready, just needing our go-ahead which we gave. We now anxiously waited, knowing she was in a rather complex surgery to remove debris and relieve stress on her spinal cord. A few hours later we got the call that she had come out of surgery and was doing well in recovery. She was expected to be in their ICU for about a week before we could bring her home. She still had no motion in any of her legs, but her tail was spinning like a propeller whenever anybody came near her.

My niece Vicki kindly went to visit Syd while she was in the hospital (it was a 75 mile drive for us, so weekday visits were pretty much out of question so she offered to go sit with her for a is Syd outside in the grass on a blanket. She has a large bandage on her neck covering the cut and also stabilizing her entire neck (which also skrunches up her neck and head-skin and makes her face seem very serious, which it's not...she's actually super-cheerful). The surgery went in from the front, to do that they moved aside all the important stuff (like her throat, and her aorta and such) to get to the spinal cord where they removed the debris from the burst disc (leaving what was left of the disc in place, it wasn't all gone), and then they 'dremeled' out an area around the spinal cord where it was damaged to relieve the pressure from swelling, which should result in a good recovery of motion in time.

 Here's Syd back at home. Keep in mind she has NO leg motion at this time, we are rehabilitating her every day, moving her legs in walking motions keeping some muscle tone and such. Basically all she can do at this point is lie where we put her. We have to carry her outside to piddle and poo (and we hold her up, and find and squeeze her bladder to get her going, the poo just comes out when we get her in 'position'). But she's always cheerful, and just happy to be alive and home with her family. And we were so happy to have her back! Jeannie had noticed it's so quiet when Syd isn't here, and how depressing the silence is (she barks a LOT, and I mean barks of JOY).

Syd sitting in our front yard with Jeannie.

And here's Syd in the 'recovery crate' with her hospital visit gifts. Vicki got her the hearts blanket, and also the brown monkey toy when she visited...aren't they precious! There's also a little blonde hedgehog toy, and also a giant lady-bug thing Jeannie got her.

Here she is with a new bandage (I was fundraising for LIVESTRONG at the time, hence my marking up of her yellow bandage like one of the wristbands). And speaking of LIVESTRONG wristbands, anybody need some? Like a hundred or so? I have MANY hundreds left over from my 5 years of fundraising for them...not totally sure what to do with them...maybe they will make a recovery?

 And finally, it's March and she is out of the bandage...HOORAY!

 Just LOOK at those big ears! She looks so skinny too, but at least she is standing and walking again!

 Here we are visiting my brothers house...that's Mac, Hannah, my niece Vicki, Syd and bro Greg.

 And here's Mom (also visiting) sitting with her grand-doggie. Syd LOVES to be held!

 Here's the ramp (version 1) I built for Syd to be able to get up on the bed. Later I moved it to the end of the bed rather than on the side. And even later I added a side-rail as her decline began (a few years later) and she was unable to walk up this without falling off.

The babies napping. PG is on the doggie-beds we laid on the floor (Syd uses them as a ramp to get up and down from the couch so she doesn't have to jump down to the hard floor).

 Here you can see the carpet strips we ended up laying down throughout the house, as Syd was unable to maintain footing on the bare ceramic tile. For a few years we had a yellow-brick-road (in all colors) of sorts all over the house just for Syd. She did pretty good with the increased traction.

 It's BEACH DAY for the babies! We drove to a very remote beach at the farthest reaches of Vandenberg AFB (where we are all alone, not another soul intruding on OUR private beach!) and let the babies run. Syd's recovery is pretty much complete..she can stand, walk and run again, although it's all different now than it used to be. It's just a miracle for all of us!

 Jeannie and the HAPPY beach-babies! You can see our private beach behind her..not too shabby!

 And Daddy with the babies. It's actually rather chilly on our private beach...but the babies don't mind.

 Sweet Pea and Syd climbing on the rocks. Exploring is a huge part of beach-day!

 Syd no longer wears a collar....ever. We were told to only use a harness from now on, due to her degenerative spinal condition. And just look at those ears catching the wind!

 What dog doesn't LOVE to stick their head out the window of a car? 
Here's Syd enjoying the drive back from the beach.

And here's all of the babies in the back, trying to help me drive. Actually they are pretty excited as they know we will be stopping at the base Burger King for post-beach junior whoppers, which they LOVE!

 And suddenly it's December, 2010. Here's a pic from our local park where we take them a few times a week to run and explore. They just LOVE the park! I used this picture for the Christmas card.

Here Syd has once-AGAIN ate some inedible stuff, and just had her second emergency-stomach operation to remove said items (complete intestinal blockage it's called, and it would kill her untreated). This shot is sitting in the grass outside the 24-hour emergency clinic (it happened on a weekend, meaning it cost MORE).

Jeannie and Syd post surgery napping on the couch. Syd was SO GREAT at snuggling!

 You can see the ramp now on the foot of the bed in it's new position. The babies LOVE the bed! I had to remove a few posts from the foot-board (I made the bed, so it was easy to modify for the ramp).

And the babies all on the couch. They seemed to hang out together a LOT, even though PG acts like she hates Syd (she had already been with Sweet Pea for a few years before we brought Syd home, and she acted like she never forgave us, though you see them together all the time).

Boy do I feel loved! The babies just LOVE to lay all over me, and it's a GREAT feeling!

Christmas-time, 2011. Here's Syd and PG with my Dad.

 Don't know what Syd did here, but she's in the crate of shame for some reason.  I can't help but wonder if this wasn't after ANOTHER stomach surgery? I believe that is the she ended up having THREE emergency blockage stomach surgeries. We called her "the Great White shark" for 2 is she would eat ANYTHING (not kidding...some of the things they removed over the 3 surgeries was a half a tennis ball, multiple doggie-toy squeakers, a big chunk of rubber, the ripped off top of a plastic water bottle, rubber bands...and I'm sure there's other stuff I'm forgetting). The 2nd reason you found out if you EVER held up a piece of food for her to come 'up' to get. She had terrible aim and would snap your fingers (and you would cry...she snapped VERY HARD, not trying to hurt you, she just wanted to make sure the food didn't 'get away'). I heard great white sharks attacked from below with a crushing attack...that's how she eats food you hold up. Just don't do it is my warning to everybody.

Sweet Pea and Syd napping on the couch.

 Here's all the babies on the couch, notice how HAPPY PG is for some reason 
(remember, she HATES Syd). Not sure which surgery this was for PG...but you can tell as she has spots shaved on her front legs (likely IV sites).

Another one of my favorite shots of Syd. After her baths she was always cold, so here we wrapped her in a blanket. Her fur was always SO thin that she was always shivering after she got wet. This shot reminds me of the movie "ET" (showing my age here). I recall a scene when the ET looked a lot like this.

Syd begging for some tidbits of food. She's standing on the tile, but you can see the rug behind her that she stands on to eat (the rug-side is her bowl), otherwise her left rear leg slides out from under her and she falls down.

This takes us through 2012, and there's simply WAY too many pictures for me to finish this up in two posts.

I'm off to Sunnyvale for a month of work tomorrow. It's Monday, Memorial day as I type and post. Hopefully the holiday has given you time to reflect on our lives, and how very fortunate we are to live here in the good ol' USA, and the price that was paid by our soldiers throughout our country's history for us to enjoy the freedoms that we do.

Happy Memorial Day and THANK YOU SO VERY MUCH to all the fallen and wounded soldiers and their families!


  1. LOVE those pics! And I'm tellin' ya - SYDNEY was a STAH! She was a natural - looks straight into the camera EVERY TIME!

    PG however, often seems to be looking off in the distance, as if it's all just beneath her. Cracks me up.

    How is Sunnyvale? And did you read any about the Giro? Alberto won but boy, that last mountain stage was iffy for him! Gotta say it - it was "one mountain too far". Haha. Still, the fact that he was able to just complete the whole thing with a dislocated shoulder has me amazed. And then to win it? And apparently with a team that left him isolated on many of the mt stages while Astana always seemed to have at least 3 hanging around at all times. Wonder how Tinkoff will fix that by the Tour. And I still don't know if I'll be able to root for AC in the Tour or not. The very idea of Tinkov the man being able to at least THINK he's a part of a team that wins the Giro-Tour double makes me nauseous.

    Anyhoo, Hesjedal really turned things around for himself after losing a lot of time early. My goodness, he seemed to be in the top 3 in most of the 2nd half's mt stages & ultimately finished 5th! I know for a guy who has won the Giro, he may not be that impressed or happy but I thought it was VERY impressive! And now I wonder if he'll be at the Tour. Don't think Talansky is riding as well as last year so having Ryder there too couldn't hurt Garmin (er, Cannondale, whatever!). Hate the beard, though. Yuck!

    Can you believe the Tour is only a MONTH away?! Whoo-hooo! And I didn't realize until just a few weeks ago when I finally looked at the course that there is NO real individual TT! Just a short prologue-type one to start & then a TTT & that's it! Man, Andy Schleck must be crapping himself! (Still can't believe he's retired!).

    Rae - how are you doing, all healed up hopefully? And I guess you're not much of a basketball fan, but I'm sure you're aware (being in Ohio & all) that LEBRON (aka KING JAMES, aka "Sweet Pea" - my nickname for him) has taken the Cavs back to the FINALS! I'm so excited & happy for him. LOVE LeBron! 5 STRAIGHT FINALS for him! Even after his team lost one of their 3 key guys in the 4th game of the 1st round & then another (Kyrie Irving) of their Big 3 has almost been a non-factor since the 2nd game of the 2nd round due to injury. And yet, here they are in the FINALS! They went thru the #1 seed in the East in the Eastern Conference Finals (the Hawks) like a HOT KNIFE THRU BUTTAH! But, most of the NBA "experts" believe the Warriors will now easily win the championship. As much as I want LEBRON to get another ring (& shut up all those 'legacy" haters) & for Cleveland/"northeast Ohio" to finally win a championship (after 52 years), I personally feel we ALREADY WON just getting here! We were 19-20 in mid-January! Heck, I was worried we wouldn't even make the playoffs! Now, NEXT year, I'll be worried - as even LeBron can't hold off the march of time forever. If we don't win this year, then he MUST in the next 2 years or the window will slam shut. I'm hyperventilating already. ;)

    Sorry to bore all you non-NBA fans but tonight is GAME 1 of the Finals! Go CAVS! Go LEBRON!

    Later, gators!

    Ooh, almost forgot - did you see the news about Alberto Salazar's alleged doping of his NIKE distance runners for who knows how many years? Makes you wonder if there is ANY sport these days without some form of doping, be it outright or "skirting" the rules by having athletes take prescriptions for ailments they do NOT have (asthma) because the drug aids the athlete's sporting ability. Sad day for American track & field & sports in general. Of course, I imagine Sepp Blatter is chuckling "take that!".
    Ok, now gotta run!

  2. Yo Susie....haven't seen or heard a lick about the Giro while up here in Sunnyvale...busy busy busy! It's so easy to forget how crappy our weather down in Santa Maria is by comparison...up here it's warm, NO WIND (typically, tho they do get the occasional windy day, but it's rare)...and the marine layer isn't hovering on top of them ALL THE FREAKING TIME! Other than the 5 million and some people up here, I really like it! The cycling is first rate, the weather is great, and oh, I guess the million dollars to buy a teensy home anywhere near work is a problem too...

    And speaking of BB...the Warriors are home just north of's all quite exciting around here as it's a bay area team. And speaking of bay area teams, the Forty Niners football stadium is minutes from my hotel! I hadn't realized that...OMG it must be something on football sunday traffic's already a nighmare...even a year ago we get off work @ 2:30pm every day, and I was able to use the carpool lanes until 3pm (when the rules go in effect) and get most of the way to where I'm going to ride...not's like a ton of people have shifted their work hours and it's already jammed up by 2:30...crazy! They need to shift another half hour or maybe another hour...traffic is insane! Thankfully my hotel is like 10 minutes from work!

    OK...gotta run...good luck on your Cav's taking it all the way...even tho I'm in their home turf, I have no love for the Warriors (did I mention I saw Le Bron play as a college kid? He was fantastic even then!) I'd like to see him get a championship...tho as a coach I really like the Warriors Steve Kerr...(used to watch him play w/ Chicago and MJ...I thought he was pretty great!)